Sunday, 28 April 2013

Books, Books, Books !!

Books are a great resource which support the development of positive identity and self-esteem in children.  I am really impressed by the wide range of books that Letterbox Library has on offer. If you type 'mixed race' into the 'keywords' search box you will be surprised by how many books they have managed to find. You won't find many of these in mainstream stores.

Letterbox Library was the brainchild of two like-minded, single mums who were concerned about the children's books available to their daughters. They found from talking to other parents that the children's books available on the UK high street simply weren't reflecting most people's lives.

Since this initial idea in 1983, Letterbox Library has grown, developed and flourished.  They now have over 300 titles listed in their catalogue/on their website. Their books celebrate equality and diversity across the board and you'll find them in schools, nurseries, children's centres, libraries, charities and homes throughout the UK. Above all, they are known for their stringent selection procedure which has secured their reputation as a key supplier to the education sector and has kept us popular with parents and carers!

At Letterbox library  they search for the best children's titles from a huge range of UK and overseas publishers, including independent and charity sector publishers. Many of their titles are not available elsewhere. Every book they sell has been approved by independent volunteer readers who include teachers, librarians, early years staff, childminders, parents and, of course, children themselves.

All of their books have been chosen for their celebration of equality and diversity as well as their excellence in storyline/artwork and their strong child-appeal.

I also love that Letterbox Library is a not-for-profit social enterprise and a co-operative. Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity, Co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others.

I highly recommend  Letterbox Library. Check them out at http://www.letterboxlibrary.com/

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Shades of Grey

Robert first shared his story of mixed race marriage in April 2013. This version is updated.    
July 2014


We live in a divided world. It’s divided because of the condition of a man’s heart.

We have many differences in the human race. Culture, language, skin or race. But these are not the causes of division, as we are simply the same species that occupy the same expanse of land. So why the division? It has always been a mystery to me why a man can carry a malice toward another over a simple difference. But what do we do, how do we cope, how should we act when faced with such disdain for being different.

I am a white British 43 year old man. Why does that matter? It shouldn't  but for some unknown reason, it matters to some. I am either preferred or not preferred. Even though I am married to a black Ugandan woman, doesn't change the fact I am sometimes chastised for crimes against humanity as though I owned a slave, like I’m a member of the KKK, yet I have more black friends and family than I do white. Yet I’m considered racist by some because I am white.

I have seen the prejudice from both sets of eyes. A conversation my Dad had with an old school friend of his. “My son is getting married……..she is from Uganda, a black girl” Why was it not, “my son is getting married”, friends response, “Are you ok with that?” Of course he is, but why do people see colour before they see people. My wife’s father was far from amused she was getting married to a Mzungu (White). Although that changed when we met, I am now considered blood, but I was still white before I was Robert Wood.

My best friend is black, and we were at a bar somewhere up north and a guy bowls over and leans on him, “hey, my new negro friend” My friend laughed it off but held my arm as he saw my face as I was a cats whisker from caving his head in. It either offended him less than it did me, or he just dealt with it far better, knowing that sometimes, your reaction or action has the power to change a man’s thinking. Perhaps had I knocked him out cold, he would have learned nothing, but I learnt a lesson that day.

I am 2 months away from my wife delivering our first baby. What will it be, black, white, shades of grey? What do I tell my child of their identity when it seems to matter so much to people to have a defined one. My skin is white, yet I feel more comfortable with black culture, music, food and yet I feel neither black or white, yet I am still tagged either way.

If I were born blind, and nobody ever pointed it out, how would I know what I am and why would I even care. I am what I am. Accept me or not. Either way, I really don’t care!

Yet we face the reality that growing up in a divided world, may take out that division on my child, on my wife as she walks with our baby to be in the park, eyes of judgement “she’s with a white guy, he’s with a black girl, he/she has mixed parents.

My advice to parents would be this and what I will tell my child. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made, God has brought 2 PEOPLE together and you were made out of Love, you are a symbol of perfection made in defiance of a partial world who would say you are imperfect. Instead of showing such people your back, show them your heart for they will no longer see colour. Love conquers all things, hate, jealousy and hardened hearts. You will always be loved among those who matter most which is God, your parents and the friends you will make who will not care what or where you are from, as they will love you regardless. As for the others, be strong, stand firm and try and show them Love, even when they show you hate, for you will walk away with integrity, they will leave with a lesson, one of which can change the world into one that no longer sees difference, but one that has acceptance and unconditional Love…….What are you my child? You are us, and we are you. Robert Wood
Trinity born 12th June 2013




Thank you to Natalie Tomlinson at  The Sunday Essiett Company who made this connection possible.  Check out the link for more mixed voices from Southwark, London. If you would like to share your Mixed Race Family story so that you can help others, please e-mail  me at mixedracefanilies@gmail.com  marking you message My Mixed Race Story.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Elizabeth

Friday, 12 April 2013

I Am Empathy


This adorable book by Deipa Hart is a collection of poems for young children.  The poems are written from her own experiences, with the aim to help parents with mixed race children. The last poem ends.. .......


I love being mixed race
It's really, really cool
Know about your cultures it helps you to be you


I love the way that the book is interactive and includes a section for notes and also one called 'Colour Me In'

Check out some of Deipa's other poems on her blog deipahart.wordpress.com



Monday, 1 April 2013

Color Blind Cards

‘Especially for you’

www.colorblindcards.com
Color blind Cards have recently launched a new range of cards featuring outstanding designs which span occasions such as birthday, wedding, new baby and 'just because' cards, perfect for women wanting to share a message of thanks or congratulations with a loved one.

Color blind Cards, the UK’s leading multi-racial greeting card & gift company, allows customers to personalise their card online before having it printed and delivered within 24 hours, using sophisticated technology allowing the sender to have a full 3D view of their chosen card before purchasing. Color blind Cards was launched in May 2007 after entrepreneur Jessica Huie became aware of a gap in the greeting card market. In searching for a card featuring a girl of Afro Caribbean descent for her 7-year-old daughter, Jessica Huie found a distinct lack of cards featuring black children and adults and the idea for Colorblind was born.

Color blind Cards have been ground breaking in becoming the first independent card publisher to secure a presence in the British high-street for cards depicting black and mixed-race people. Inspired by her desire to give her daughter Monet and all children, access to positive images which reflect all children’s identity and simultaneously reinforce their self esteem, the roll out of Color blind Cards across Clinton Card stores in 2008 was a personal triumph for Jessica as a mother and entrepreneur.

Outside of the UK, today Color blind Cards can be found as far afield as South Africa and Nigeria. 2013 signals the brand’s launch in the USA.

“The images celebrate the diversity of our British people. I am personally dedicated to ensuring the visibility of black cards in Britain. Society is changing, the mixed race ethnic group is the fastest growing group in this country and retailers are beginning to recognise the value of the black pound and this audience which has been under serviced for so long. This is our time. ” said Jessica Huie.

The new personalised www.colorblindcards.com range starts at £2.99 per card. Today Color blind Cards are stocked in select branches of Clinton Card stores, independent stockists, online, South Africa and in the USA. Color blind Cards is also sold locally through our Community Trader Scheme, allowing local people to run their own businesses around family /other commitments by selling our cards and gifts in their communities. The wonderful thing about the Trader scheme is that it will help ensure our children have access to cards which represent them, and if traders decide to sell through their school, church, charity or community centre the cards become a fantastic fundraising tool! To request an information pack email us with TRADER in the subject line of your email info@colorblindcards.com

Celebrity fans of the brand include Kelly Rowland, JLS, Ali Bastian, Estelle and the Noisette’s Shingai Shoniwa.

For further info, images or interviews contact Color blind Cards Email info@colorblindcards.com or
contact Jessica Huie on 07985 424 772